Welcome to the blog tour for Tolu Akinyemi’s Dead Lions Don’t Roar and Dead Dogs Don’t Bark. I had a chat with the poet on his books and other interesting topics. Enjoy!
The titles of your two books are quite interesting and unique. What inspired them?
My book titles are metaphorical in nature and they are to inspire us to find our unique roar, bark, meow and growl. The titles are apt based on the poetic wisdom for the discerning series which I am currently writing about and it was inspired by the need to see people put their gifts and talents to positive use while there is still breath in them.
What was the writing process like? What part of writing the books will you always remember fondly?
The writing process was very much straight-forward as I knew the message I wanted to convey, and I tried my best not to change my approach. I think the best part of the writing journey I will always remember is seeing the books in print. That was an absolute joy.
It is usually said that, a writer’s work has bits of the writer’s personal experience in it. Is that the case with your books? And if so, how much of yourself is reflected in there?
I would say my second and third titles “Unravel your Hidden Gems and Dead Dogs Don’t bark reflect my personal experiences as the essay collection came about from my knowledge, intellect and experiences over the years and Dead Dogs Don’t Bark also reflect a bit of my experiences and some important people that have added value to my life over the years. There are occasions it will be difficult to detach the writer from the work especially for poetry collections.
Every genre of art has different meaning to every author/writer. What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry to me is a means to an end and that end goal is to express an idea which could be conveyed in a short bust of words. I also see Poetry as a melodious song and the rhythm is what we dance to.
In “Dead Lions Don’t Roar”, one poem that caught my eyes was “The Other Room”. I know this poem may not have a correlation with the statement of a certain President of a country (or does it?). However , I’d like your view on the said statement of the said President, especially in view of current global trend on feminism and empowerment of the girl child.
The poem was inspired by that certain president, By the way I love the way you camouflage those words. I think the statement by the president was a sad one coming from a Leader of a nation, I have always celebrated Women in my books and in Dead Dogs Don’t Bark, I wrote a poem titled “Forward Ladies” celebrating the great strides women have made in their careers. As a father to a girl child, I would not want my daughter relegated to the other room, hence I think it is a mis-guided statement to make in a season of equal opportunities, to denigrate women and seemingly relegate a woman’s place to the kitchen and the other room is indeed in bad taste.
You already have a couple of works of poetry. Should we be expecting a full length novel from you anytime soon?
I am challenging myself to release another poetry collection in mid-2019, then a Children’s book as well in September 2019. In 2020, I will be working towards my full-length novel which I have started however still in the periphery as I have prioritised other projects.
I noticed that your poetry is written in simple and easily assimilable style. Which poets (or writers generally) influence your writing style?
I would say I practice a kind of mix and match poetry, while I would read from a Jess Green, Rupi Kaur, R.H Sin, I tend to draw inspiration from myself in my writing style as I try my very best to be distinct and I tend not to let anyone influence me as I might derail from my chosen path. I have a large collection of poetry books, however it’s a conscious decision to be easily understood by writing in plain terms.
Your books explore very relatable themes of societal relevance. Do you have any plans to have your books approved by the relevant governmental bodies for inclusion into the educational syllabus?
I have always had plans to have my books included in the educational syllabus, however to be honest with you. I have taken no action till date. Thanks for pointing this out, I will definitely work towards that now you have mentioned it. It would be a joy to have my books included in the educational syllabus in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
This question might be a bit cheeky (and most writers don’t answer it very honestly). What motivates you to write? Fame or money?
I am motivated to write because I want to make a positive impact however to be candid with you, I also want to attain a best-seller status. That will be a dream come true for me and right now, I am enjoying the little fame in my Author journey though it might be inconsequential, the World is starting to take notice of my talent which is quite endearing. To summarise, I am not in it for the money however, if money and fame comes, why not, it might be a just reward for all the late nights and sacrifices to make the World a better place.
What would you like your readers to remember you for after reading your works?
I want to be remembered now and, in the years, to come as the Author who taught us to go for it, goal for it and go all out for our dreams. I want my books to inspire people to believe in their ability, to shun procrastination and stay true to themselves. And finally, I hope my books will inspire readers to discover their own unique roar and leave the world a better place than they met it.
You can get Tolu’s books here